Health workers ‘need more than applause’, TD tells Dáil

Denis Naughten proposes extra paid leave for frontline staff if economic crisis prevents pay increases

Frontline health workers should be offered extra paid leave, the Dáil has heard

Frontline health workers should be offered extra paid leave, the Dáil has heard

 

Frontline health workers should be offered extra paid leave at the “very least” if increased salaries and bonuses cannot be paid because of the economic crisis, the Dáil has been told.

Independent TD Denis Naughten said that “now is the time for us to come together as a country and offer healthcare workers more than just a round of applause” for their efforts in the fight against Covid-19.

Mr Naughten said frontline healthcare employees should be recognised for the long hours they worked in difficult circumstances.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil sitting in the Convention Centre, the Roscommon-Galway TD said these workers had put themselves “at risk to keep us safe”.

He also expressed concern about the numbers of patients back on trolleys in hospital accident and emergency departments. Mr Naughten said Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway was among the medical facilities with this problem.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government would consider Mr Naughten’s proposals.

He said that despite the financial challenges the Government is honouring public service pay agreements this year and it also applied to frontline workers including An Garda Síochána.

He also paid tribute to the frontline healthcare workers and said they put themselves at risk to help their fellow citizens.

It demonstrated the value of a “very good quality public service”.

The Taoiseach acknowledged the issue of patients waiting on hospital trolleys would be a major challenge for the health service over the coming months.

This was in part due to the need to have enough isolation facilities for patients with coronavirus but they wanted to “resume non-Covid services as best we can”.

The HSE will have a plan in place by the end of July for the resumption of these services, he said.